A guardianship refers to the legal right between a minor or an incapable person and a guardian, without terminating the legal relationship between the biological parents and the child. Usually, a guardian is appointed by court, and is tasked to take care of the child and the child’s affairs, mainly all for the child’s benefit and advantage. For biological parents whose rights have not been void, a court action to remove or replace the guardian can be filed through court.

Guardianship and Child Adoption in Thailand

Adoption in Thailand on the other hand, refers to the legal rights of the biological parents being terminated and the adoptive parents obtain full custody or full charge of the child. All of the rights and responsibilities of the natural parents of the child is turned over to the adoptive parents. The courts duty over the child is finished once the adoption is finalized. The terminated parents no longer have the right to interfere with the child’s affairs. Thus, it solely remains to the adoptive parents.

The Thailand Child Adoption Center and another agency authorized by the Department of Development and Welfare in Thailand processes all adoptions in the Kingdom. Both adoptive parents should be 25 years or older to be able to be eligible for adoption, and should at least be 15 years older than the adopted child. Couples planning to adopt a child are required to be legally married. A criminal background check will be required from the prospective parents, their physical health will be thoroughly inspected, also their ability to support the child and living conditions. Not all who intends to adopt are approved, as it requires further evaluation. For non-Thai prospective parent, a police clearance should be obtained from the home country, stamped by the Thai Embassy of which it has been issued, and the clearance needs to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand.

The process of adopting a child in Thailand by foreigners outside of Thailand is much more complicated. There are multiple levels of legal jurisdictions that the adoption should be able to comply. Prospective international parents usually start with submitting an application for adoption with the Department of Social Development and Welfare. A specific gender can be requested and if preferred can choose a child with special needs. A home study will be done and the prospective international parents will be interviewed by the Child Adoption Board. The whole process for international adoption usually takes around two years.

Adopting a child is a major decision. For those currently in Thailand, the best department to contact would be the Child Adoption Center or any legal firm or agency that comprehends with the legal process. For those outside Thailand, it is highly recommended to seek advice from law firm in Bangkok who understand the local adoption procedures likewise with the Thai adoption process.

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